Can you elaborate a little more on the difference between the worlds of art and business, and how you were able to bridge that gap?
Both worlds are about people, including the business world even if we don’t always refer to it as such. We have to remember that we are all humans working to, hopefully, live an enjoyable life doing what we are great at and sharing it with others. The business world varies, and I believe there are as many differences as there are companies, so there is no one size fits all, therefore I like to think about business in three categories: serving, growing, and leading. The how and the why will always be unique to the specific business. Art can also be seen as business, and for me it has similarities as well as differences. It will come down to how you define the core and what aspects you include in the specific word.
From another perspective, art has been seen as a form of entertainment, creating relaxation, reflection, and new perspectives. I like to see it that way too, and art and business are intertwined in beautiful fusion.
Read Part 1 of our exclusive interview with Annamaria
For me personally, the biggest change was going from working with a team and meeting colleagues every day at a physical workplace, to working alone with my paintings. I have the freedom to build everything from scratch, and I like it because I have always had a strong intention about how to operate and take action everywhere I have worked, so this was no different. Starting my own business has a lot of advantages, but sometimes it has its challenges as well, and that’s why it has been incredibly important to build my network online. To be honest, the pandemic has been beneficial for my business to grow because we were forced to digital platforms. That gave opportunities for new connections and great collaborations.
How do you seal the deal?
My clients purchase my art because they want to. I believe in most cases they fall in love with the artwork. I don’t believe in convincing, and I will never push my clients to buy anything they are not sure about. My part is to bring value to the client and to deliver a great piece of art.
Did you have to make any sacrifices to become a successful artist?
I decided to go all in. Because it is my choice, I don’t see it as sacrificial, but of course it means I can’t have another career. The entrepreneurial life comes with a specific type of pressure that I think all entrepreneurs can relate to; you are responsible for everything if you are on your own. Since I have gone all in it means I risk it all, but to me I couldn’t see myself living any other way. It is beyond satisfying to be able to do what I love, grow as much as can, serve and connect with new people every day. I wouldn’t exchange this for what most people would call a stable and safe life working 9-5. There is a lot you can do to facilitate your day-to-day business. Knowing yourself and how you’re functioning on a daily basis and creating high valued habits including a specific structure and discipline is key. I can’t allow myself to focus on what is not beneficial for me. Attention is one of your primary assets in life, use it with intention.
Do you just paint portraits, or have you tried other genres?
The latter. I have paint animals, landscapes, flowers, feathers and other subjects as well.
What is your most unique artwork?
I have a painting “I won’t move until you speak” of a man standing with his arms around his body and his head is faced towards the ground. The painting illustrates his skin painted like a plexus in blue, turquoise, and purple, and his inside with the burning desires are coming through as yellow/orange. He is not moving, waiting for directions, while at the same time he is full of all these desires and will from the inside.
What are your thoughts about NFTs, and are you planning to enter this market?
Yes, I am planning to extend my art into the digital era. I do believe there is a discrepancy between the more “traditional” art I have been painting so far, but the lines are becoming more and more fuzzy. I like to see what is possible, and creativity has no limits.
What advice would you give to young artists and art entrepreneurs?
Just start. Everyone has different preconditions, but there is only one way to become an artist, painter, or what you are dreaming of, and that is to start. You have to start to do the thing you want to do, and to become who you want to be. Put yourself out there, don’t strive for perfection, strive for progress. One day at a time, do something small to build on your dream of becoming an art entrepreneur. If you have to do other things to get going, or work part time for a while at the same time, see that as an opportunity. Life is not one page; you are writing a certain chapter at this moment, but that includes a lot, so don’t add limitations to your life when they actually don’t exist.
One primary focus should be to gain experience, and you can use everything – literally everything to become the person you know you were created to be. Think more about what you want, set goals and go fearlessly towards that. Course correction is a must, taking advice from people doing what you want to facilitates the journey.
Support is important. No, you won’t always get it from the people you thought, and you will have to become your own biggest cheerleader. The times of trial will also test your dream and vision. If it’s solid you will get through anything, and that will be the stepping stones to the next level. Keep perspective, set intentions, make it clear what you think this is worth (how bad do you want it?), and remember you are worthy of having a great life, art entrepreneur or not.
Action always wins over procrastination. Small steps, keep an open mind. Know yourself and who you are as an artist, what you want to express. Seek knowledge and advice about your area of interest, never stop learning. Connect with new people, grow your network and also how you see life. Focus on being who and what you want, and what you focus on will grow. Be yourself, we all have things to work on, that’s a part of the human experience. Your character is very important. More practical advice would be to create a portfolio, 15-25 art works are a good start, and also start connecting with galleries and online art businesses to showcase your works. There are tons of networks with other artist, galleries, and collectors – make sure you are a part of them.
Is the art world a safe and honest place to do business?
It’s not dangerous, but we should always be careful, and I think there are a lot of people who aren’t serious and are trying to make money by tricking artists. Since we are almost completely forced online to do business, safety can lack sometimes when it comes to commission works and the process around it. You need to be aware of such pitfalls.
How can someone from humble beginnings enter the high-end art world?
Where you operate as an artist is more related to what you think of yourself. There is no right or wrong because we all have different purposes and places to fill. If you truly believe and it is your dream to enter a specific arena, of course you will be able to get there. It’s a matter of time, be true to yourself and enjoy the journey. No one can take your destiny from you. Reality is not a movie, that’s why we enjoy movies, to escape some messy parts in between. We like the edited version, but that is not reality. If we instead learn to like our reality and love ourselves it will be much easier to proceed in this life.
Do you have to actively look for clients or do they find you?
It’s both. Often I will get reactions to my artworks when I promote and post them on my platforms, and then I’ll take it from there.
Do you need to travel as an artist?
Yes, I need to travel for meetings as well as for inspiration.
How has COVID impacted your business, and what changes, if any, did you have to make?
Yes, it has been more digital solutions with exhibitions, and social media platforms have been more valued over the last year. I have seen a lot more online art businesses starting, and I have been able to collaborate with some of them.
From your experience, what types of art will appreciate the most over the next decade, and what would you recommend artists should invest in?
It will be a mix, and we will see an overall expanding art market. Traditional art pieces from the most famous artist from the last two centuries. I believe the value will be more connected to the artist/painter than to the actual work of art.
What are your top three most favorite artworks and artists of all time, and why?
Anders Zorn – På terassen, Alger. This is an incredible work of art that captures the moment of waiting. I love how he is able to mediate events through his paintings, and also include the surroundings in a beautiful way.
Prince Eugen – The Cloud, 1895. I experienced his work as a child and his natural motives inspired and talked to me in a special way.
Erik Johansson (photographer) – Give me time, 2019. The photography is playing with our perspective and making us think differently, and that is very intriguing.
Are there any books that you’d like to recommend to our readers?
I recommend, “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. This book gives insights about how to live in the now. If we stop living in the past or in the future we will be able to give the current moment all our energy and live more presently, to do things more effectively and unlock our inner creativity and genius.
Believe you are a painter, and paint.
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